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Religious Preference: No Profile Picture



For religious reasons, I would rather have a cartoon version of my face and not my actual face as my proile photo. Is this possible?


Do other alternatives exist for people who do not want their photos shown? I have no problem using my photo for identity: I don't want it to be always available on my profile.


Thanks for your help,


Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Danielle,


Users aren't allowed to use drawings or cartoons as their profile photo but I'll ask our team to reach out to you and advise you directly about the options you have in regards to using your profile photo, setting your profile to private and help with verifying your location.

~ Vladimir
Community Member


I need help with the same issue. Can you guide me as to how i can go about this

Hi Ammara,


Please note that your profile must represent you as an individual and that all the information in your profile including your profile photo needs to be accurate, truthful, and verifiable. You can check this help article for more information on profile pictures. If you need to cover your face for religious purposes, we can add a religious exemption to your profile to allow you to upload a profile photo that covers your face. Please let us know if you would like us to do so.


Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Community Member

Requiring pictures is illegal unless it's a bona fide job qualification.  Because none of us are models or acting, requiring it would be a violation of the California laws.


TITLE 2. GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA [8000 - 22980]  ( Title 2 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 134. )
DIVISION 3. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT [11000 - 15986]  ( Division 3 added by Stats. 1945, Ch. 111. )
PART 2.8. DEPARTMENT OF FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING [12900 - 12996]  ( Part 2.8 added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 992. )
CHAPTER 6. Discrimination Prohibited [12940 - 12957]  ( Chapter 6 added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 992. )


"It is an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, or, except where based upon applicable security regulations established by the United States or the State of California: ...


(d) For any employer or employment agency to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any publication, or to make any nonjob-related inquiry of an employee or applicant, either verbal or through use of an application form, that expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification, or discrimination. This part does not prohibit an employer or employment agency from inquiring into the age of an applicant, or from specifying age limitations, if the law compels or provides for that action."



Requiring pictures enables users of the agency to discriminate against or in favor of whatever skin color or gender they want, and this is illegal.  Someone not wanting to employ Muslims could ditch all the hijabi-wearing applicants. 

Community Member

@ Stephanie --


You are making a fundamental error. You are confusing Upwork clients with "employers."  You are confusing freelancers with "employees."


The statute that you are quoting does not apply to independent contractors.


(cf. "... For any employer or employment agency... " )



The statute that you are quoting does not apply to independent contractors.


 Not only this, but also why people think that some US law has any power outside of the US?

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Janean and Rene, while I do not doubt the legality of requiring picture ID in order to verify location, age, and so on, Upwork ought to provide the option to freelancers to exclude their photo from their profile or restrict it to logged in users, IMO
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Member

IMHO its a matter of being professional.

To show a picture here is for job/work purpose and nothing else.

I always try to handle virtual like real world, so the question maybe hypothetic :

If i go to for a client or job meeting or whatsoever related, would i wear a mask ? Or would i hide ? Only if my attention are not serious.


That does not mean in any way religious purpose is out of professional or unacceptable way, ... its only my IMHO !

--We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful.
We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.
Mother Teresa

A user of the site can't simply read about a law somewhere or even read the law itself and then tell Upwork they need to do something.


It doesn't work that way.


You may learn about how things work on Upwork and comply.


You may even see something you disagree with and ask Upwork to change its rules or policies.


But you can't dictate to Upwork what they do, just as Upwork can't cite some rule or scripture or custom or commandment somewhere and dictate to you what you can do on your personal website.


I think it is fantastic for Upwork and for you on your own personal website to accommodate people of different backgrounds and beliefs and jurisdictions - voluntarily. And Upwork does that a lot. And I bet you do that a lot.


There's a difference between asking someone to do something and thinking you can compel someone to do something.

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